Jeff Lemire has rapidly become one of the top writers in comics, both with his work for the Big Two and with his creator-owned series. His latest, and biggest, hit is Descender, which follows a robot boy as he’s made illegal and struggles to survive in a galaxy full of bounty hunters, angry humans, and political machinations. Lemire was kind enough to sit down with us on the eve of Descender‘s first collection arriving in stores, and talk about the book and how it came together.
You’ve done a lot of science fiction in your career. What attracts you about the genre?
Jeff Lemire: You get inspired by different things. I didn’t set out to write three SF books. Sweet Tooth and Trillium are very different. Descender is deep space space opera, I think Descender came out of that. Descender was certainly a reaction to the fun I had doing Trillium. Descender is like taking Trillium and doing that times 10. It was expanding on stuff I like doing.
What was the kernel of Descender?
Lemire: It’s usually just a feeling. It’s just a kernel of something you gravitate to. It’s very unformed and almost abstract. It was just this feeling about a little boy that was on the realm. I wanted to build this huge cosmic mythology about robots and different classes of robots. The idea wasn’t really much more than that. I had the idea of Tim-21 and his pet robot Bandit, and this big drilling robot, these three different personalities, with the backdrop of this big cosmic storyline. You throw ideas at it, some stick, some don’t, half of them are stupid and some are kind of cool. You keep doing that over the course of a few months. You get a lot of ideas, at any given day, I get three or four ideas I might never think of again, and you try to nurture it so it ends up on the page.